Sunday, July 7, 2013

Teaching Digital Citizenship by Being a Bad Example

Chelsea Chaney is a UGA freshman who once took a funny picture in her swimsuit with a Snoop Dogg cutout.

And Fayette County Schools put that picture in the middle of a presentation about your digital tattoo. With her name. And cartoons about boozing it up with bad boys. Someone had grabbed the picture from her Facebook.

And she is suing for $2 million.

Is she due that much money? That is for the court to decide. If anyone has learned a lesson about how things you post on the internet can be used in ways you never thought, Miss Chaney has.

My question is why did a teacher or school official think this was necessary or appropriate. With the world of stock and anonymous photos available with a license to use, share and modify (I will let you Google Image Search that for yourself), why choose a former student's image, much less attach her name to it?

In schools we call that bullying. The rest of the internet calls it slut-shaming. That is when a woman or girl is labeled a "slut" when she defies a convention about sexuality. It is meant to belittle and cause shame over something that the bully finds inappropriate. Now I don't know Miss Chaney, but just a picture of a 17 year old girl in beachwear being silly with a cardboard cutout of a media star seems like some harmless, good-natured and age appropriate fun.

Did the school official or teacher that used the picture know Miss Chaney? Probably. It also comes across as someone having some sort of ax to grind with her.

And once the name of the person who included the picture is known on the internet, they will also learn a lesson about the digital tattoo and what it is like to be branded a bully by the public.

Edits: because typos are bad.

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